House of Gucci is out in theaters and making quite the buzz as a portrayal of the family story behind the famous Gucci name—but did you know that Princess Grace herself is behind one of Gucci's most famous scarves?
When Princess Grace of Monaco walked into Gucci's Milan store in 1966 She had her eye on one of its signature Bamboo Bags. She had no idea that Her shopping trip would lead to the creation of a fashion icon.
Rodolfo Gucci, the son of Gucci's founder Guccio Gucci, was present in the store that day and wanted to offer the Princess a scarf as a gift. He knew that, as both actress and royal, Grace Kelly had famously “reimagined” the luxury scarf, wrapping a silky square around Her head as She drove along the Grand Corniche or tying it into a sporty bandana while attending the Olympics.
Yet nothing in the store that day or even in the entire Gucci catalog seemed quite fitting for a princess. And so, Rodolfo immediately contacted the Italian illustrator Vittorio Accornero and asked him to design a silk scarf that would capture the elegance, grace, and timeless beauty of Her Serene Highness and celebrate Her well-known love of flowers, both fresh and pressed.
Accornero responded with a painting representing nine bunches of wildflowers, berries, and insects— 45 varieties in all—captured in 37 vibrant colors on a white background.
The result was Flora, the most famous scarf in the history of Gucci. It would become the base on which Gucci dresses, handbags, and even perfume
would be made and it would continue to spawn numerous interpretations as Gucci changed creative directors over the course of the next five decades.
The Gucci Garden
For more than half a century, the Flora print would influence countless Gucci collections. Whether inspired by “flower power” or “rock and roll eclectic”, each new artistic team would shrink or inflate the flowers, and the colors would be reworked as chromatic contrasts against darker backgrounds or explode in fluorescent fireworks. At one point, a snake from the Gucci Garden was added to give it a new edge.
Flora transcended generations. Princess Grace wore the delicate print as a scarf in the late 1960s. In the '70s Her daughter, Caroline wore Flora in the form of a silk blouse for Vogue. Decades later, the Princess's granddaughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, would become the face of Gucci's “Forever Now” campaign, wearing a simple black top with a Flora scarf.
The Flora motif even inspired an award-winning garden submitted by Gucci in the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show in London as well as a roving Flora Icon Exhibition that featured Accornero's original hand-drawn sketches and curated Flora scarves, mini-dresses, and handbags from the Gucci Museum in Florence. According to the House of Gucci itself, Flora has become “a profound expression of the Gucci brand, representing new life, femininity, and sensuality”.
Gen Z Gucci
The magical secret garden of Flora continues to flourish even today. Earlier this summer, the Vogue Business Index ranked Gucci as the favorite luxury brand of Gen-Z on social media and the fashion house has discovered new ways to introduce the Flora legend to this growing market.
For its 100th anniversary this year, the Italian fashion house chose Miley Cyrus, the 28-year old multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, as the spokesperson for its newest fragrance.
Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia is packaged in a joyful and multi-colored floral bouquet—just the latest “new take” on the House of Gucci's iconic Flora pattern created decades ago as a thank you gift for a princess.
This post was provided by Annette Ross Anderson. Annette is a partner and Marketing Manager at the iconic Monaco restaurant and sports bar, Stars'N'Bars. Over the last 30 years, she has hosted the Monaco multi-mix of royals, billionaires, celebrities, expats, university students, and yachtsmen that make up Monaco's diverse social universe. Annette also oversees the MonacoUSA Association, a social and business network in the principality. A trained journalist and business writer, she is currently working on a screenplay inspired by the legacy of Princess Grace.
Image credits: Gucci, anothermag.com, Refinery29